Mushroom yield optimisation using carbon dioxide Measurement

Compost “quality” depends on many characteristics including dry matter content, moisture content, colour and structure. Compost of good quality can be expected to have a potential for a high yield of mushrooms and, conversely, one of poor quality for a low yield. Even though mushroom growers can often recognise differences in compost quality, prediction of the subsequent yield of mushrooms is often inaccurate.

Compost quality, of course, is not the only important production factor. Differences in crop yield and quality will occur when different growers use the same compost but the cropping environment and cultural practices employed are different.

Different composts probably need to be treated differently in order to obtain the maximum practicable yield from them. Using their experience, growers have learned how to grow mushrooms by developing cultural practices which enable them to take into account variations in compost quality. Optimum quality and yield cannot be obtained using a standard set of cultured practices and environmental set points.

In order to optimise the yield and quality of mushrooms by influencing the conversion of compost dry matter into mushrooms through specific cultural treatments and controlling the environment, it is necessary to know the effects of such measures on dry matter conversion. As a first step, IMAG-DLO and the Mushroom Experimental Station has investigated the relation between carbon dioxide production of compost and dry matter loss from the compost, and the efficiency with which the mushroom converts dry matter into fruit bodies.

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